[Sandbox] ByaRen family

[FanFic] Babysitting Sakura [Sandbox Society]

[Characters]: Abarai Renji and Kuchiki Byakuya.
[Pairing]: ByaRen
[Summary]: There's trouble; in Soul Society and in the Kuchiki household.
[Word Count]: ~2500
[Finished]: January.2011
[Beta]: not beta-read
[Warnings]: AU | Implied Mpreg | Angst
[Rating]: PG-13
[Notes]: Written for Byakuya's birthday today (January 31st), but more angsty than festive, poor thing. pets Byakuya*

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Disclaimer: Do not own Bleach and will not make a profit out of this fic. All characters © Kubo Tite. Save a few OCs product of fangirl brainstorming.



Byakuya sat bolt upright on the bed. Something was not right. Centuries of training told him so; centuries entirely ignored as he moved immediately giving away his position, state of awareness and foregoing all threat assessment.

The baby. It was all that mattered in this instant.

Byakuya looked to the cot by the bed; the baby was wide awake and alert as if also sensing the wrongness in the air but seemed otherwise well.

Byakuya let the relief wash over him and dismissed it as the useless emotion it was, concentrating on the distressing feeling that had awakened him. It clung to him like the scent of Renji after sex but with none of the pleasuring effects of a post-coital embrace, still he couldn't pinpoint the threat.

The grounds were quiet, a sign of the early hour, but the birds chirped in the trees, the cats prowled the roofs and the useless dogs slept on the Tea Pavilion stairs. No commotion sound from the streets and even though Kuchiki Manor was far from the main centre of Seireitei, the clangour of attack would have been heard all this way. Even spirit energy seemed languid and relaxed in the last hours of the night.

And still the ominous sensation raised the hairs on the back of Byakuya's neck. His prolonged inactivity and brand new condition as a birth-father were surely interfering with his senses and thought processes.

Leaving the bed, he reached for Renji's ridiculous white and pink kimono, discarded the night before by its owner at the bottom of the bed, and threw it on his back to stave off the cold. Moving to the cot, he picked the baby up, wrapping him in his green blanket, his head secured as instructed by Unohana-taichou. He smelled the baby's small tuft of red hair, a scent so unique: of baby powder and freshness and something else that was just Hikaru. Byakuya held him close against his shoulder, feeling him safe, real, intact but the uneasiness stubbornly lingered.


Commotion sounded from the main entrance of the house: a shout and voices hushed by distance, shuffling feet moving closer and sliding doors opening brought the sound further into the house. Byakuya felt his arms tightening the baby to his chest, making the child squirm in discomfort, as he strategically studied the room for exits, hiding spots and the quickest way to Senbonzakura, just before the feel of a familiar reiatsu reached and encompassed them protectively and the more discernible sound of his name was bellowed by Renji, as his husband, hair loose and troubled look on his face, slid the inner-room doors open.

Byakuya berated himself for his clouded mind and for failing to sense Renji sooner, wondering if some of the procedures Kurotsuchi-taichou had done on him during the preparation of his pregnancy and the consequent hormonal unbalance resulting of childbearing and birthing might have deregulated him to this extent. He had had down time before and it had never affected him like so. It was grating that he would fail on something that had been as autonomic as breathing.

"Byakuya," Renji said from the door, in a mix of relief and dread, his usual silly grin at seeing his new son absent, replaced by a grave look.

"What's wrong?"

With two strides his arms were around them, holding tight and nuzzling, first Byakuya's neck, leaving a light kiss just below the ear and then the baby's face. Hikaru scrunched his nose and blinked at his dad but didn't seem startled by a face so up close, simply giving a soft mewl and settling back on Byakuya's chest, eyeing Renji.

Byakuya allowed it for a few minutes, he too needing the reassurance of their warm bodies pressed close but when Renji continued to just hold them and made no move to disentangled himself or offered any explanation, Byakuya had to enquire. And if his, "Abarai?!" sounded a bit harsh and slightly distressed, it was to only natural giving the situation and the lack of forthcoming information; it was never meant to frighten the baby.

Nevertheless, Hikaru startled and complained by showing them just how powerful his tiny lungs could be. Renji took him and his green blanket from Byakuya's arms, holding him to his shoulder, swaying slowly while tonelessly humming the silly made up song about a monkey and a cherry tree that the child seemed to favour; he always quieted down when Renji sang it. Then again, he always quieted down whenever Renji was nearby.

As the baby settled, tucked under Renji's chin, his husband turned his attention back to Byakuya. "The alarm for an invasion was sounded. All divisions are on full alert," he said.

"Any idea of how it was triggered?" Byakuya questioned, trying to step into the Division captain state of mind, quickly cataloguing all that could set off an alarm such as this one.

"That's the problem, we don't know. The alarm is automatic. It only sounds in the Divisions to prevent alarmin’ the intruders. Only, nothin's been sighted or registered by the sensors; Twelfth Division's already doin' their thing, tryin' to determine what went wrong. By the time I left they were still comin' up empty. Kurotsuchi-taichou wasn't a pretty sight. Well, worse than usual." Renji grimaced, no doubt picturing Kurotsuchi in his foul mood, and kept rocking the baby slowly.

"It's unusual but perhaps a malfunctioning of the alarm may be the reason," Byakuya suggested, but then there was that odd feeling in the air, as if something was disturbing the energy that made up Seireitei.

"Yeah, could be," Renji reluctantly conceded. "But there's somethin' else. Even when Ichigo and the others invaded, with Urahara-san's help I might add, we knew where they were and had a fairly good idea of who they were. This time we know shit."

"Don't swear with the baby in your arms!" Byakuya chided.

Renji had the decency to blush and mutter, "Sorry, kiddo, forget you heard that." And dropped a kiss to the baby's messy red hair. "In any case, I need to go back..."

Byakuya nodded and said, "just let me get dressed and we can go. See if you can get him to stay asleep."

"What do you mean 'we can go'?" Renji asked in a whisper, trying not to disturbed the sleeping baby. "I came here to make sure you were all right."

Byakuya looked straight at Renji. "What do you mean 'came here to make sure we were all right'? I'm still the Sixth Division captain, if there is an invasion of Soul Society, I have to go and lead my men," he said, his voice raising.

The baby fussed, whimpering under Renji's chin. "Keep it down, will ya!"

Byakuya glared at Renji as his red-haired husband tried to explain, "you've just had Hikaru, you're barely out of recovery, I assumed you would stay and protect the baby, in case this turns out to be a much more serious situation."

Byakuya's eyes narrowed, studying his husband's face. Was Renji learning from the Elders how to play the guilty card? The 'you are a mother now, your responsibility is to your child' argument?

But Renji kept going. "I just came to tell you, so you wouldn't hear it from someone else or get worried if it took longer for me to get home."

No, Renji had never been manipulative; he was simply being the concerned husband. The soldier going off to war, saying goodbye to his wife and child, assuring everything would go well.

Byakuya felt anger rise in him. He hissed at Renji, trying to control his voice and not wake the baby. "Just because I bore our child, it does not make me any less capable of leading my Division in a mission. Or, has it turned me into a housewife. When you asked I stayed home with the baby a few months after the birth, I conceded. But I will not play your wife any longer! I will not let you go off to war and leave me here, tending to a child."

"Byakuya, I didn't mean..."

"I should have returned to my duties long ago, it was remissive of me to be absent for so long from Sixth Division captaincy." In a movement he had perfected over the years and knew to be over theatrical, Byakuya turned, his long hair flowing and left for the dressing room to put on his uniform.

Moments later, Renji followed, without the baby. Byakuya was tying his hakama. Wearing only his hakama. He could feel Renji's eyes roaming his body and when he looked his way, Byakuya could see his eyes slightly glazing with want. That was another thing that made it so frustrating. Renji hadn't touched him, really touched him, since the baby had been born. Too much worry, too many sleepless nights, too many excuses and it had already been three months and...

Byakuya shifted to catch Renji's attention. Renji blushed and looked at his feet, as if caught red-handed and not simply looking at his husband.

"Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way, it wasn't..." He took a deep breath. "I just want to protect you and Hikaru. You're... family. My family."

"I don't need protection. I have never needed protection, Renji," Byakuya said, his arms sliding into the captain's haori after so long. It felt good. Right.

"You know, this is all new to me, too," Renji stated. "Being a husband, a father, marriage and responsibilities and on top of that managing the division on your absen..." Renji trailed off, his eyes widening, obviously aware of his blunder.

Byakuya took his time turning fully to face Renji, the word Scatter on the tip of his tongue. Instead he said, very clearly, "this discussion is over."

"This discussion is not over!" Renji's tone was adamant. His eyes, hard.

The amusing thing was that not long ago this would have worked, Renji would have withdrawn. Decades of military indoctrination and of serving under Byakuya had trained him not to press the issue, to back down. And Byakuya would have been able to escape the confrontation and emerge victorious nonetheless. But now, Renji no longer stepped down; he was learning, finding ways to cope and educate himself in how to react to Byakuya. He was no longer just an eagerly acquiescing underling but an increasingly opinionated spouse with an alarmingly growing insight into the inner workings of Byakuya's psyche.

"This isn’t how it works!" Renji was saying, too many emotions showing in his too expressive face. "It works by I sayin’ my thing, you sayin’ yours and us both findin’ a common solution." He gestured between the two of them. "That’s what a marriage is. Not you bottlin’ it all up until one day you explode and cut me out for good." His breathing had quickened and hurt became the most discerning emotion on Renji's face and by the Spirits could he be any more accurate? Wasn't that exactly Byakuya's standard procedure? It was dismaying that he had allowed someone to know him so well and had done so unintentionally.

They eyed each other silently; Byakuya, hiding his shock behind the carefully constructed façade of Kuchiki Byakuya - Twenty Eighth Head of the Noble Kuchiki Family, Division Captain of the Gotei Thirteen - Renji, letting distress join the hurt on his expression, before he whispered, "I can’t afford to lose you. Lose him. Hikaru is... he’s a piece of me and you... and you made him heir of the Kuchiki and if in the mess of things you go and take him... I’ve no saying in it... I would lose him... you... forever and I-I can’t have that. So please, let's talk."

It was on the tip of Byakuya's tongue - the unconditional surrender he would allow no other but Renji - when the klaxon of the Seireitei invasion alarm blared through the coming dawn. Relief, of all things, passed thorough him, pooling in his gut, making his knees weak, before the anger returned in force. Outraged at his weakness and quick capitulation, Byakuya set his shoulders back and assumed his role as Kuchiki-taichou, dismissing Renji's preoccupations with a wave of his hand and a cold voice.

“This is hardly the time for such discussion.”

“Fine... whatever." Renji too, hid behind masks, all emotion gone from his face. "But this isn’t finished...”

“Very well." Byakuya finished dressing, before addressing the more pressing matter. "We need to ask someone of trust to mind the child."

"Someone of trust?" Renji said suspiciously. "What if this really is something serious? 'Someone' just won't do to protect my son."

The vehemence and protectiveness in Renji's voice calmed Byakuya somewhat, putting things into perspective, but not enough for him to let go completely, so he taunted, "you can stay, then, and watch over him."

Renji bristled at that, hurt flashing in his eyes."Don't play games, Byakuya. Not with Hikaru's life."

Gritting his teeth, Byakuya suggested, "I can have Senbonzakura stay with him."

"You want to leave your three month old baby with a bloodthirsty zanpakutou? I rather leave him with Zabimaru."

"No doubt a big breasted monkey and a childish snake will be suited for looking after your three month old baby."

"And a samurai armour is?"

"He can take off the armour. He looks surprisingly human underneath it. And what's more, except for any of us, he's the only one I trust with Hikaru's life."

Renji's eyes narrowed in thought. "And you leaving you zanpakutou here, will fight how? With what weapon?"

"I expect this to be a reconnaissance mission, not a full out battle, contingencies will be made if my assessment is incorrect. And unlike some, I can use kidou remarkably well."

The jibe seemed to settle Renji somewhat; the old feud between them, familiar and markedly less jarring. "Very well, have it your way. If you're coming, we have to go now." He moved back into the sleeping room, standing over the cot, a finger lightly caressing the baby's red hair.

Byakuya took Senbonzakura from its stand, where it had rested these past six months, since Byakuya had been too heavily pregnant to wield it, and unsheathed it, reuniting with an old friend, feeling its weight against his fingers.

"Senbonzakura," he said quietly, aware of Renji's gaze on them. He wasn't quite sure how to read it; was it anger, disenchantment...?

A swirl of sakura petals materialised in the room, gathering before them and taking the form of a samurai warrior in full armour.

"You've called," a deep voice, said.


TBC

January2011©MarinLiliz
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  • Current Mood: chipper chipper
Poor guys, so much bottled-up hurt (especially, on Byakuya's side)! I'm glad they've found a way to resolve their argument. Poor Renji, he didn't mean anything wrong and poor Byakuya, tired of his "stay at home and take care of the baby" role. This had to happen and the quarrel sounded very believable.
(Though I'm kinda convinced that Zabimaru would look after the baby with equal care).
I suspect that Byakuya is suffering from baby blues (postpartum depression) and Renji really doesn't know what to do with him. And I'm sure they haven't solved their argument, more of a case of 'saved by the bell'. I still have a few more lines of quarrel to write before they kiss and make up;P

And sure Zabimaru would be as caring and reliable as Senbonzakura but Renji isn't as proficient with kidou as Byakuya...

Thank you for the comment *hugs gokuwolf*
BTW, I liked Zabimaru more when it looked like a big monkey (I hope it'll go back to this form)...
Aww, I'm pretty new to reading ByaRen stuff, much as I've liked the couple for a long time and this is just such a lovely story and nothing like anything I've read before. Their arguing is obviously a normal thing for them but the frustrations feel so real and both are right in their own way. I love your Renji and how he does stand up to Byakuya properly and... he's lovely. I will be keeping an eye out for the next part eagerly!
Thank you, I struggled a bit with that argument so it's good to know it feel real;)

Although I haven't written the back story to how they got to be married and with a child, the Byakuya and Renji of this story, know each other better than their cannon counterparts and their relationship is no longer that of a captain and vice-captain but one on a much more equal standing; which I believe they still find difficult to deal with, hence all the angst.
AWWWWWWWWWWW! Happy Birthday, Byakuya <3

Ouch, such a nasty argument. I understand Byakuya very well, but then, Renji didn't mean to do or say anything offending - he was just being loving, protective husband (and father) he is. Still, 3 months is not a very long time to learn the role of a spouse and a parent, they'll work it up somehow ^_____^ Especially that, behind the facades, they crave for each other so much <3

I love it! When can we expect the continuation? :) *nuzzles wolf*
I think it's too much frustration and added stress that has Byakuya in such an uproar. A nice, relaxing night of love making is just about what he needs XD

The next part is a little interlude from Senbonzakura pov that I want to post on Hikaru's birthday on February 19th, the final part will come soon after that I hope. *tackles and nuzzles wolf*
Speaking as a mother of 2 - postpartum hormones SUCK and being home with a baby is incredibly demanding. You're on 24/7 and going back to work feels like such a relief, you can have a cup of coffee and not worry about spilling it on the precious akachan, plus nobody's puking on you all the time. Renji ought to take a turn for a few month as well. Seriously - aren't yaoi relationships about being egalitarian in these things? But Renji didn't say anything too bad. OH YEAH the lack of sex and the sleep deprivation can make both spouses cranky, too. Just in case you others aren't in that stage of life yet - I'm corroborating. Also, I'm enjoying the story and I usually avoid mpreg.
Yeah, you're right, I don't have any kids or husband so far, I based the whole thing on my experience around new mothers and the usual clichés, so it's good to know I got the facts straight;)

I'm sure Renji wouldn't mind taking care of the baby full time but there's more to the egalitarian thing in this. Maybe I should explain that better next:P

Anyway, it's always great when people who usually avoid mpreg like how I write mpreg. Thank you:)
I kinda understand where Renji was coming from but well, I can't wait for the next chap! curiosity is eating me! I missed RenBya sandbox stories~ :)
I think anything he would've said would have been taken the wrong way by Byakuya; he's too cranky to think straight >___<

Hello
I love it when they are all feisty with each other. Its a really good chapter and I will wait patiently for more. Have a good weekend.
Re: Hello
Waah, thank you:) Part two - that won't add anything to their fight as it will revolve around Senbonzakura babysitting Hikaru - will be up on the 19th and the next part shouldn't be too long after that:)